While Jessica was away in foreign climes, Mark wanted to get a few “classic trips” under his belt. This coincided with an invitation to assist with the dig at the end of OBD.
We met up for breakfast at the Little Chef near Oswestry and then met up with Alan (NWCC) at the car park near the cave, and everything went smoothly until we got to the boulder choke when ……
So Mark started to climb into the choke. He pulled with his hands, and pushed with his legs, and in a little while his feet were through . . . and then his ankles . . . and then his legs . . . and then his hips . . . and then —
"Oh, help!" said Mark. "I'd better go back."
"Oh, bother!" said Mark. "I shall have to go on."
"I can't do either!" said Mark. "Oh, help and bother!"
Now, by this time Keith wanted to go through the choke too, and finding the choke full, he moved towards Mark, and looked at him.
"Hallo, are you stuck?" he asked.
"N-no," said Mark carelessly. "Just resting and thinking and humming to myself."
"Here, give us a hand."
Keith stretched out a hand, and Mark pulled and pulled and pulled. . . .
"Ow!" cried Mark. "You're hurting!"
"The fact is," said Keith, "you're stuck."
"It all comes," said Mark crossly, "of not having caves big enough."
"It all comes," said Keith sternly, "of eating too much. I thought at the time," said Keith, "only I didn't like to say anything," said Keith, "that one of us was eating too much," said Keith, "and I knew it wasn't me," he said. "Well, well, I shall go and shout for Brendan."
Brendan was on the other side of the choke, and when he came back with Heather, and saw the bottom half of Mark, he said, "Silly old Mark," in such a loving voice that everybody felt quite hopeful again.
"I was just beginning to think," said Mark, sniffing slightly, "that Heather and Alan might never be able to use this cave again. And I should hate that," he said.
"So should I," said Alan.
"Use the cave again?" said Brendan. "Of course he'll use this cave again."
"Good," said Mark.
"If we can't pull you out, Mark, we might push you back."
Keith scratched his whiskers thoughtfully, and pointed out that, when once Mark was pushed back, he was back, and of course nobody was more glad to see Mark than he was, still there it was, some lived in trees and some lived underground, and —
"You mean I'd never get out?" said Mark.
"I mean," said Keith, "that having got so far, it seems a pity to waste it."
"Then there's only one thing to be done," he said. "We shall have to wait for you to get thin again.”
“How long does getting thin take?” asked Mark anxiously.
“About a week I should think.”
So we had no alternative but to make our way back out and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the Minera “Hoffman” Lime Kiln.
The Team: Mark (Pooh) Burkey, Keith (Rabbit) Edwards, Brendan (Christopher Robin) Marris and Rabbit’s friends-and-relations, Heather Simpson and Alan from NWCC